Not that long ago, pirates from Somalia were the scourge of ships heading towards the Suez Canal; an armada of ships from a variety of countries from the US to China and beyond who had skin in the maritime trade game got sent to the region, tamping down folks using that failed state as a pirate bay.
Now, the other side of the Red Sea is becoming an issue.
The United States has accused Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who took over the country’s capital in September 2014, of launching multiple attacks by anti-ship missiles — two Oct. 10 and a possible third Oct. 15 — on its ships in the Red Sea. These attacks came after the Houthis targeted the United Arab Emirates (UAE) vessel SWIFT and released footage of the attack.
Yemen is quickly becoming a modern-day Vietnam, a proxy war between for Saudi Arabia and Iran for the title of Big Muslim Daddy, with the Sunni Saudis backing the beleaguered government and Iran giving support to the Shia Houthi out of the northwest of Yemen. That makes Yemen much more dangerous than Somalia, since all the pirates had are speedboats and AK-47's.
Our new friends in Yemen are loaded for bear in comparison, and most of the rest of the world are backing their foes. Blocking the Red Sea will damage Europe and the US by forcing shipping to go the long way around Africa rather than use the Suez shortcut and cut the ports of western Arabia and Jordan off from the Indian Ocean. Lots of potential mischief to be had on those waters, methinks.
That's worth keeping an eye on.